Cardinals crush Braves, reach NLCS
UNDATED (AP) _ The St. Louis Cardinals have advanced to the National League Championship Series by putting together the most productive first inning in major league postseason history.
The Cardinals sent 14 batters to the plate while erupting for 10 runs on five hits, four walks and a huge error in the first inning of a 13-1 rout of the Braves in Game 5 of the NL Division Series in Atlanta. The Braves had a chance to get out of the frame trailing just 1-0, but first baseman Freddie Freeman botched a potential inning-ending double play grounder.
Tommy Edman, Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong provided two-run doubles following the error, allowing the Cardinals to turn the deciding game into a laugher. Pitcher Jack Flaherty walked with the bases loaded and Fowler reached base twice during the rally.
Braves starting and losing pitcher Mike Foltynewicz (fohl-tih-NEH’-vihch) retired just one batter while surrendering seven runs - six earned - on three hits and three walks. Max Fried (freed) allowed three runs in the first and was lifted to start the third inning with Atlanta trailing 11-0.
Flaherty breezed through six innings to get the win, limiting the Braves to one run and four hits while striking out eight over six innings. Flaherty had a shutout until Josh Donaldson homered in the fourth.
The Braves dropped a playoff tradition by declining to distribute red foam tomahawks to fans before the game. The change followed complaints from Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley who is a member of the Cherokee Nation and considers the Tomahawk Chop to be insulting. That didn’t stop fans from using the chant when Fowler was at bat leading off the first inning.
The outcome puts St. Louis in the NLCS for the first time since 2014, when they fell to the Giants.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers are trying to become the Cardinals’ next opponent. Los Angeles held a 3-0 lead heading into the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of their NLDS.
Max Muncy (MUHN’-see) put the Dodgers ahead with a two-run blast in the bottom of the first, one batter after Joc Pederson hit a leadoff double that came close to leaving the ballpark. Pederson’s drive originally was called a home run before being changed to a two-bagger upon video review.
Kike (KEE’-kay) Hernandez added a second-inning blast off Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.
Pederson had two of the Dodgers’ first five hits allowed by Strasburg.
Dodgers starter Walker Buehler (BYOO’-lur) limited the Nats to two hits over the first five frames. Buehler put the first two runners on base in the top of the fifth before getting out of the jam unscathed.
Sabathia could be on Yanks' ALCS roster
NEW YORK (AP) _ CC Sabathia (suh-BATH'-ee-uh) could be on the New York Yankees' roster for the AL Championship Series after missing the previous round with an achy left shoulder.
Sabathia threw a bullpen session Wednesday and impressed manager Aaron Boone, who said the 39-year-old left-hander is feeling "considerably better." Boone says Sabathia is an option for the ALCS, but the Yankees haven't decided on their roster.
Relief pitchers Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton are expected to be 100% for the ALCS.
Boone also says outfielder Aaron Hicks has recovered from a right elbow flexor strain. Hicks is healthy enough to play, but Boone says there is "trepidation" about activating him because he hasn't played in a game since Aug. 3.
Burfict's appeal denied
UNDATED (AP) _ Vontaze Burfict's appeal to overturn his suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit has been denied, keeping the Oakland Raiders linebacker off the field the rest of the season.
Appeals officer Derrick Brooks has ruled that he would not reduce the longest suspension ever handed down for an on-field infraction. Brooks is appointed jointly by the NFL and the NFLPA and heard Burfict's appeal of the ban for the final 12 games of the regular season and the playoffs.
Burfict was punished for his hit on Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle on Sept. 29. It was the third time Burfict has been suspended for a dangerous hit on the field.
In other NFL news:
_ Rams running back Todd Gurley missed practice Wednesday with a bruised left thigh. The team doesn’t know whether their star ground-gainer will play Sunday against the 49ers. Coach Sean McVay says Gurley's injury "caught us all off-guard" when Los Angeles went back to work following a bye week.
_ The heavily underdog Giants are going to be without their top two running backs and their two leading receivers against the Patriots Thursday night. Saquon (SAY'-kwahn) Barkley will miss a third straight week with a high ankle sprain and Wayne Gallman will be out with a concussion. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram have also been ruled out.
_ Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn says center Mike Pouncey will have season-ending neck surgery after being injured during the first half of last Sunday's 20-13 loss to the Broncos. Dan Feeney will move to center and Forrest Lamp will take over at left guard with the nine-year veteran now done for the year.
_ The Chiefs could get star wide receiver Tyreek Hill back for Sunday's game against Houston, but the rest of the team’s injury news is bleaker. The Chiefs placed defensive tackle Xavier Williams on injured reserve after he suffered a high ankle sprain in last weekend's loss to the Colts. Left tackle Eric Fisher remains out after core muscle surgery. Defensive tackle Chris Jones, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and offensive lineman Andrew Wylie all missed practice Wednesday after being hurt against the Colts.
_ Dolphins head coach Brian Flores says Josh Rosen will be his starting quarterback the remainder of the season. Rosen supplanted veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 3 and will start for the third game in a row Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Flores says Rosen has improved on a week-to-week basis, adding that he thinks Rosen “needs to get in there and develop and get reps and just improve.”
_ Jets tight end Chris Herndon's return from suspension will be delayed by a hamstring injury that will sideline him for an undetermined amount of time. Herndon was eligible to return to the team this week after being suspended the first four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
_ Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey practiced for the first time in three weeks Wednesday, rejoining teammates two days after seeing a back specialist. Ramsey participated in a limited capacity, taking part in individual drills before spending the rest of the session working with team trainers on the side. It remains to be seen whether Ramsey plays Sunday against New Orleans and the NFL's leading receiver, Michael Thomas.
_ San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman says he'll apologize to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield for accusing him of not shaking his hand before Monday night's game. Sherman initially said he felt Mayfield disrespected him before the pregame coin toss by ignoring him. But after videos showed that Mayfield did shake hands with Sherman, the outspoken Pro Bowler changed his tune.
Silver expects Nets-Lakers games in China to be played
UNDATED (AP) _ NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has told the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers that the league is still expecting them to play in China as scheduled this week.
Silver made the announcement while the rift between the league and Chinese officials continued in ways that clearly suggested the two planned games in Shanghai and Shenzhen were anything but guaranteed.
NBA activity in the country is in jeopardy after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a since-deleted tweet last week that showed support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.
Protesters in Washington handed out T-shirts and held up signs in support of Hong Kong on Wednesday when the Wizards hosted a team from the Chinese Basketball Association.
Sabres top Habs in OT
UNDATED (AP) _ The NHL’s worst team last season is off to a 3-0-1 start this month.
The Buffalo Sabres blew a two-goal lead in the third period before Marcus Johansson scored 90 seconds into overtime to give them a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The game-winner was set up by Jack Eichel (EYE’-kul), who had two goals and two assists.
Jeff Skinner and Victor Olofsson also scored for the Sabres, and Carter Hutton made 23 saves.
Joel Armia (ahr-MEE’-uh) scored twice and had an assist for the Canadiens, who are 1-0-2 following their third straight overtime game.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
_ Carter Hart turned back 25 shots in his first career shutout as the Flyers won their home opener, 4-0 over the winless Devils. Travis Konecny (kah-NEHK’-nee) had a goal and an assist after scoring twice in Philadelphia’s season-opening win over the Blackhawks in Prague last week. Ivan Provorov (PROH’-vah-rahv) also had a goal and assist for the Flyers, who also received scoring from Kevin Hayes and Sean Couturier (koo-TUR’-ee-ay).
Penguins place Galchenyuk on IR
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins placed forward Alex Galchenyuk (gal-CHEHN'-yuhk) on injured reserve after he aggravated an undisclosed injury that limited him during the preseason.
Galchenyuk joins center Evgeni Malkin and forward Bryan Rust and Nick Bjugstad (BYOOG'-stad) on IR for the Penguins, who are off to a 1-2-0 start. Galchenyuk has two assists in his first three games for the Pens since being acquired in an offseason trade with Arizona.
Calhoun accused of sex discrimination
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Calhoun has been accused of sexual discrimination by a former associate athletic director at the University of Saint Joseph, the Division III school where Calhoun now works.
Jaclyn Piscitelli alleges she was fired from the small Catholic school in Connecticut after complaining about the conduct of men in the athletic department including the 77-year-old former UConn coach. He was hired to form and coach the school's men's basketball team.
She alleges, among other things, that the former UConn coach once called her "hot" and on another occasion forced her to clean up coffee grounds he spilled, telling her it was something his wife would do for him.
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